Free Our Data: the blog

A Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens


Does this sound familiar? Virtual London removed from Second Life – at Ordnance Survey request

The Virtual London project has once again fallen afoul of Ordnance Survey, which this time has spread its domain of dominion into virtual worlds that have no physical existence.

So, the virtual London that the UCL team had built in Second Life has had to be un-built. The team explains:

Our Virtual London model in Second Life has been removed from the collaborative environment at the request of the Ordnance Survey.

The research is currently ‘pending license clearance’ as the Ordnance Survey are ‘uncomfortable’ with the use of the data.

Details on the work currently unavailable are in the post below, we are reserving comment at request on this one, but i guess you know our views…

Three Dimensional Collaborative Geographic Information Systems (3DC/GIS) are in their infancy, Google Earth opened up the concept of three dimensions to the mainstream but issues with data copyright, the inability to effectively tag data to buildings and the asynchronous nature of the platform have limited developments.

Second Life however provides a synchronous platform with the ability to tie information, actions and rules to objects opening the possibility of a true multi-user geographical information system. It has been notoriously difficult to import 3D data into the Second Life but at CASA we have managed to import our Virtual London model of 3 million plus buildings into a scrolling map. The map is built from prims that ‘res’ our of a central point to build accurate models based on Ordnance Survey MasterMap with height data supplied by InfoTerra.

We’re very interested by the concept that you can infringe copyright with data in a virtual world. Then again, maps are the original virtual worlds, aren’t they?

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